A New Hope.

Raw was in Chicago. But was CM Punk?

No, he wasn’t.

The crowd was rowdy and then his music hit, but he was nowhere to be found. Instead, we got treated to Paul Heyman and another villainous promo. Heyman sat in the ring, Punk style, and blamed the fans for stealing him and even went as far to blame the Undertaker. The inability of Punk to stop Taker at Wrestlemania last year was apparently the catalyst in the destruction of their relationship. I personally think that their match was the best match of the entire event last year. For the destruction of their relationship, Heyman wants the streak ended and Taker defeated by Brock Lesnar. Lesnar is the only capable superstar to do this in his mind.

Lesnar hit his cue and came out to wow us with his verbal acuity. He babbled about how the Undertaker is scared of him, I saw Raw last week and it looked like he pissed his pants at the sight of Taker. I don’t blame him because I would have done the exact same thing. Mark Henry came out to face Brock and Lesnar did his typical ‘I’m going to huff and puff to look really badass but everyone will see what a terrible wrestler I really am’ act and then he peaced out. I find Lesnar good for a cheap pop and reaction from people (not me, unless you count dislike) but he can’t wrestle for shit. Now, let’s talk about a couple of guys who can wrestle…

The Usos.

These two guys are probably the hottest tag team that the WWE has seen in a long time. I figured that they’d get screwed over, yet again, when they were set to face the New Age Outlaws. I figured that Hunter’s buddies were going to get to keep the titles that they didn’t really earn or deserve. Boy, was I ever wrong.

The Uso brothers wrestled a beautiful match, watching them is literally like watching a ballet in the ring. When Jimmy got the winning fall, I screamed ‘YES!’ at the top of my lungs and actually fist pumped. Not even joking, I actually held back tears. There is no better feeling than seeing someone get a title belt when they truly deserve it. Everyone in attendance that night could read it across the faces of Jimmy and Jey when they got to hold the belts that they fought so hard for. Moments like that make me truly happy and proud that I am a wrestling fan.

As fans, we really did get spoiled rotten on Raw this week. The WWE did all that they could to divert attention away from #HijackRAW and I think that they did a really good job of it. We got to see the beginning of the break up of Cesaro and Swagger. I am so happy about that because Cesaro is WAY too good to be saddled with such a mediocre partner. Jack was simply jealous that Cesaro was becoming so accepted by the fans and he wanted to stop that. When he interrupted Cesaro’s match with Big E, I thought Cesaro was going to flip his shit and knock him out. Cesaro did the same thing to Jack later that night, when Swagger faced Big E, just so he knew how it felt. We all knew the break up of that team was coming but watching the seeds of that split being planted was the best part.

That same logic also applies to The Shield. They had another epic match with the Wyatt Family on Monday and you could cut the tension between Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose with a knife. Seth was left hanging and then he left his group members hanging. He was always the one who was holding them together, fixing what was broken and he just could not deal with it anymore. As sad as I would be to see such an amazing and dominating group split up, they would be so strong as singles competitors.

The final moments of Raw were the same as they’ve been for the last few months, Daniel Bryan got fucked.

He had to face Bootista, I mean, Batista. Randy Orton was ringside as well, how could this match have possibly ended well for Daniel? Hunter pulled his usual shit to get his buddy over and the fans voiced their opinions about it quite loudly. Batista just looks so tired in the ring, he can’t keep up with someone who works at the speed that Daniel Bryan does. Fans notice that and it reflects in their reaction towards what they are seeing in the ring. He’s just boring to watch, I’m not hating on him but he’s not what people want to watch anymore. When Daniel was attacking his knee, I was secretly hoping that something would happen and he would be out of the Wrestlemania main event. Harsh? Not really.

I would also like to add that I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Paul as the special guest. Not only is he beautiful, but he seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself and what was happening in the ring. I hope that the WWE has him back again soon. Mostly so I can oogle him.

Another special moment was the announcement that WIlliam Moody, a.k.a Percy Pringle, a.k.a Paul Bearer, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2014. I truly hope that the Undertaker is the one who inducts him, along with Kane, because he was the man who made both of them into the superstars they are today. I think that they would have been popular without him but he moulded them and shaped their in-ring characters, making them that much more special to the fans. Rest in peace Mr. Moody.

Better Late Than Never: Wrestlemania Recap.

It has been just over a week since the Showcase of the Immortals and I have a lot to say. I even watched it twice, just to relive my favorite moments and remember what I didn’t like. Let’s break it down…

Pre-Show Match: Wade Barrett (IC Champ) versus The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship
I still can’t believe that this was relegated to the pre-show.

I also can’t believe that Miz had a victory, however fleeting the moment was. However, I did think that it was a match worthy of being on the main card, with terrific athleticism and showmanship. The fans in attendance were very lucky to see it. I enjoyed watching it on WWE.com, even if Wade lost.

The Miz has no business holding the title, he couldn’t hold a candle to Wade Barrett. I don’t find him entertaining and his constant imitation of Ric Flair is just annoying. He doesn’t have anything really going on and he’s bordering on Zack Ryder territory (Sorry Zack!).

Six-man Tag Team Match: Sheamus/Randy Orton/Big Show versus The Shield
There is a distinct difference between the two teams that competed in this match. The Shield is a cohesive group and Randy Orton, Sheamus, and the Big Show are not.

You can really tell that Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns are meant to be in a faction together. Each one of those men comprise unique element of one of the most engaging teams since the Freebirds and the Horsemen (That’s right, I went there.). Dean Ambrose is the voice. Seth Rollins is the aerial artist. Roman Reigns is the powerhouse. The other three were good, they were entertaining, but it didn’t seem like it was meant to be.

There was obvious dissention between Sheamus, Orton, and Show at various points throughout the match, especially when it came to who was tagging who. You could see it all over their faces and it affected their performance. There were little rivalries brewing between the three of them throughout the match and it opened up the possibility of feuds involving any combination of Sheamus, Orton, and Show.

The teamwork of The Shield prevailed as Dean Ambrose picked up the win, keeping The Shield’s undefeated streak intact.

Mark Henry versus Ryback
This match was pure power against power, two huge men facing off in the ring. It definitely wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was entertaining and showcased just what the bigger wrestlers are capable of in the ring. Mark Henry and Ryback tussled back and forth, Henry hit the Sammartino bear hug and Ryback took out Henry with his deadly meat hook clothesline. It was a beauty of a move and I felt Henry’s pain. It was awesome.

The Wrestlemania moment, and my personal favorite, of this match was when Ryback had Mark Henry positioned for shellshock. What sold it for me was the look on Henry`s face as he was hoisted on the shoulders of his competitor. The fear sold it and the finish made the match much more than two big guys ambling around. Henry captured the win when he collapsed on top of Ryback, but he got his revenge by delivering a spine buster and a perfectly executed shellshock on Henry.

Tag Team Match: Dolph Ziggler/Big E. Langston versus Team Hell No (Tag Team Champions)
I had a feeling that Team Hell No would retain their titles and I was right.

This match was good but I saw it as just a showcase for both Ziggler and Langston. It was the in-ring debut of Big E and I thought it went over rather well. As I have said in a previous post, he needs to make sure that he is seen as more than just a pile of muscles in a singlet that is too small. The two shining moments were when Langston caught Kane like a baby and when Daniel Bryan got the win with the flying head butt. Aj and Dolph’s kiss before the match, taunting Bryan’s 18 second loss to Sheamus last year, was also a nice touch.

Tag team wrestling is one of the cornerstones of the business and I feel that this match would have been slightly better had it been against an already established team. Rhodes Scholars anyone?

Fandango versus Chris Jericho
Out of the entire card, this is the one that I was most on the fence about. It was one of the greatest superstars of all time facing a man who waltzed in off the ballroom floor. I was not disappointed.

For his first official match in the WWE, Fandango was fabulous. When he caught Jericho in the head with a mid-air dropkick, I lost it. If anyone can get someone like Fandango over with the (sometimes brutal) WWE Universe, it is the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla. The match was fast paced and flawless, with Fandango gaining the win over the seasoned veteran. My only critique is that he uses an leg drop off the top rope as his finisher.

A LEG DOP OFF THE TOP ROPE! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? I sincerely hope that he is holding out on us…

World Heavyweight Championship match: Alberto Del Rio (WHC) versus Jack Swagger
I was over this angle a while ago. I find Swagger boring and his gimmick very stale. The only point of interest is that Zeb Colter is garnering all the heat for him. Think about it, what has he really done to contribute to the furthering of his storyline? That’s right, nothing.

Del Rio retained via submission. Moving on…

CM Punk versus Undertaker
Epic. How else can this be described? This is probably the most anticipated match of the last few years, one I was so excited about that I could have peed myself. The work put into this match was some of the finest work I have ever seen in my 24 years of watching wrestling. It was so magical, I clung to every word and action of both men for weeks. As bad as this sounds, Paul Bearer’s death added a sense of reality and realness to this match. The Undertaker was hurting and the wrestling world was reeling from the unfortunate news of Bill Moody’s passing. Cue Punk now…

Even the entrances were perfect. Punk had Living Color play him to the ring, surrounded by a mixture of cheers and booing. The Undertaker walked through a sea of the living dead to exact his revenge on Punk for what he did to completely disrespect the memory of Taker’s long-time friend and manager. CM Punk’s black, grey, and purple trunks were also a nice nod to Taker. This match wasn’t about what one did to another or who hated who, it was about the highest level of respect between two men who love this business. Punk was able to win this match via count out or disqualification so Taker had to be extremely careful. It was everything that a good wrestling match should be, the two battled for control constantly and there wasn’t one moment that could be predicted by the fans watching. Taker went for Old School, Punk pulled him off the ropes. Punk went for the GTS and Taker countered with a choke slam. The Undertaker got into the ring at the nine and a half count! I was so into the match I was sweating while I watched it.

My two favorite moments were when the Undertaker gave Punk the ‘stare of death’ when he broke out of the anaconda vise and when Punk gave Taker the flying elbow off the ring and onto the announce table. As everyone saw, the table didn’t break and it added to the long list of injuries that Punk has been working with for the last little while. Things like this just make me appreciate these guys so much more than I already do.

The Undertaker continued his streak to 21-0 when he countered the GTS with a very strategic tombstone pile driver. Taker and his urn were finally reunited.

No Holds Barred: Triple H versus Brock Lesnar
The best part of this match is Triple H beating Lesnar. I didn’t really see a need to have them fight again, although the build up was pretty decent.

Lesnar can’t wrestle. The only way he can compete is if it’s a stipulation that gives him an edge. UFC isn’t WWE, in WWE you have to actually do things. Not knocking UFC fans but I don’t think half of the guys in the octagon could cut it in the squared circle.

HHH won and Lesnar lost. Can’t wait for Extreme Rules so I can watch the same match again!

WWE Championship: The Rock (WWE Champion) versus John Cena
Boring and predictable. The only thing that makes me happy is that the champion will actually be on the flagship program every week. What makes me sad is that we’ll probably be treated to another round of Rock/Cena at Wrestlemania XXX.

Final Thought
I found that the last few Wrestlemania’s that involved Rocky have been somewhat mediocre but this one was the worst. The only thing that truly made it great was Undertaker versus Punk. It had to be tough to book a major event around a champion who was too busy promoting movies to promote the business he supposedly missed so much. The other superstars were left to pick up the load, as well as the staff in the offices. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the grandest event in all of sports entertainment, I hope they step up their game for New Orleans.

Everybody Fandango!

I’m starting this post off talking about the best part of Monday Night Raw, the crowd!

The people who were in attendance at the Izod Center were the best crowd that the WWE has had in a while. It really proves that the crowd can add to the atmosphere of an event and it makes it more enjoyable for everybody. They were literally on fire, they were into everything that was happening and their chants were hilarious. My personal favorites were ‘We are Awesome’ and the singing of Fandango’s theme song. One can also not forget the dancing that accompanied the lengthy serenade. The show was made that much more special because of those people and I wish crowds were like that everywhere. It reminds me of going to Raw in Calgary and chanting ‘We Want Bret’ with everyone. I’ve said it a million times, there is no better feeling than being in the audience at a WWE event.

John Cena opened the post-Wrestlemania Raw as our new WWE champion, with that awful looking belt. I’m glad that he won because we’ll get to see the champion each and every week on television. I think that is part of the reason why fans were so apathetic towards the Rock and Wrestlemania this year, Cena made light of that with his work on the microphone. If you have the top prize, you should be there to defend it each and every week. The question came about regarding who Cena would face next, my suggestion was maybe Jericho. Much to my surprise, Mark Henry interrupted the champ and got into the shuffle. Apparently, Rocky is still the number one contender and Mark Henry had to beat Cena on Raw to earn a title shot. Henry lost, opening the door for Rocky to come back whenever he is done promoting a movie or whatever. Stupid.

How can a guy who left the WWE high and dry, still be the number one contender? I can’t be the only fan shaking my head when Booker T said that. The prospect of a Cena/Henry angle has me very intrigued. Henry is a solid worker who deserves to compete for the biggest prize that sports entertainment has to offer, and compete against the current face of the WWE. The dynamic is there and it is something the fans would want to see, provided that it was done properly. Ryback also apparently turned heel during the Cena/Henry match when he attacked both men. I don’t really think it’s the right move for him when both Henry and Langston are the big guy heels but you never know what will happen with it. Eventually it will work but just not now.

In addition to the rowdy crowd we got treated to, we also got to see some great matches on the broadcast.

We got to see the Raw debut of Big E. Langston when he faced Daniel Bryan. Langston won his bout, with interference from Dolph Ziggler and Aj of course. I like him but I feel like he needs to harness and concentrate his power so it can be used effectively. It’s one thing to be a big guy, but it is another to be able to concentrate the power that you have. The Miz and Wade Barrett also had a rematch for the Intercontinental title, which Miz won from Barrett at Wrestlemania. I thought it a bit odd that would happen but I`m glad Wade got it back. The crowd got into it once again with a ‘Let’s go Barrett’ chant and Wade delivered a very strong showing, demonstrating why he deserves to hold the belt. The Miz seemed overpowered by Barrett throughout much of the match, it doesn`t seem like anyone knows what to do with the Miz anymore. I`m already growing tired of his ‘I’m the new Ric Flair’ gimmick he has going on. I just can’t buy it. Wade won with the Bullhammer Elbow, and this match toppled the one they had on the Wrestlemania pre-show in terms of quality (in my opinion).

One of the big surprises of the night came when Ziggler FINALLY cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase to win Alberto Del Rio’s World Heavyweight title. During the handicap match which saw Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger face Del Rio, Ziggler had his big moment. I like the new Del Rio but it was about time that Dolph had his time to shine in the spotlight. That briefcase made me feel like Dolph was stuck in some kind of purgatory, never to escape. Del Rio won by submission and Ziggles seized the opportunity. It was welcomed with open arms as the crowd promptly lost their shit.

The Undertaker also made a brief appearance to talk about his epic match with CM Punk at Wrestlemania, it was touching (however brief). He dedicated the match to his manager Paul Bearer, who passed away a few weeks before the biggest event of the year. The Shield interrupted Taker’s speech and when Team Hell No came out to help him, the Shield backed off. It was kind of intriguing, it is definitely an angle that I would be interested in watching on tv each and every week. Another interesting feud brewing was that between Randy Orton and Sheamus, I didn’t buy them as a team but they would be terrific in the ring together.

As goofy as I think Fandango is, Jericho vs. Fandango is really entertaining. We all have Chris to thank for that. He interrupted Fandingo`s match with Kofi and even mocked the dancing queen in the process. If anyone can get this guy over, it is Chris Jericho (or the crowd who was singing/dancing to his theme song for hours).

One can only hope that the crowds are that good every week, it really adds to the show and makes it fun. With this year’s Wrestlemania over, it opens the door for some fantastic feuds with the superstars of the WWE.

Thank you guys for working so hard to entertain us each and every week.

Shake It Up.

I was on vacation for the last week and didn’t get to watch Monday Night Raw until this past Friday, but I did keep up with what was going on via Twitter and Facebook. I thought Raw was decent but there was no build for matches other than the last segment. Sure, there was a little work done here and there for the other feuds but it just wasn’t enough. I don’t think the matches will be bad, I just wish there was more meat to them.

I felt that the highlight of the show was the continuation of the incredible build between Punk and the Undertaker. I took particular note of how offended everyone was and I honestly do not get it.

The only thing I took issue with was that Paul Heyman was dressed like Paul Bearer. Not because I thought it was wrong, I just thought it was incredibly creepy. With the poor quality of the build for the other matches this year, we should feel like Wayne and Garth bowing in front of Aerosmith saying “We’re not worthy”. The work that Undertaker and CM Punk have put into their program is absolutely incredible, mind-blowingly incredible. (Is mind-blowingly a word?)

Everyone just needs to relax and get over themselves. This obviously never would have gone forward had any of the participants said no.

And can we PLEASE discuss Shawn Michaels appearing to tell Triple H that he will stand in his corner this Sunday? I thought it all sounded phony and I wasn’t buying it.We get it, you guys are best friends and want to be there for each other. In my personal opinion, it should just be Hunter and Lesnar out there. That will never happen because Lesnar couldn’t wrestle his way out of a wet paper bag. He may be good at dominating people but when it comes to a fight, he can’t hang with the big boys. All he has is his size, UFC isn’t WWE and it takes actual ability to get somewhere. He couldn’t cut it if he wasn’t being pandered to by management. The only person who makes me angrier is the Rock and I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now how I feel about him.

The other shining moment, albeit miniscule compared to Taker/Punk, was when Daniel Bryan did a flying headbutt from the top rope. I always take that as a nod to Chris Benoit and smile a little bit. It still makes me so sad that Benoit is forever erased from wrestling history because of what happened.

My feelings towards the build for this Wrestlemania may seem mixed but I still expect big things from the grandest event in sports entertainment. I fully intend to be screaming my face off from my couch and I know it will be a hell of a ride!

Give Your Head A Shake.

You’d swear that it wasn’t Wrestlemania season based on the latest episode of Raw…

Cena opened the show with a speech about his match at Wrestlemania with the Rock and it’s just getting harder and harder to buy into it. John Cena is there selling his side of the match and what is Dwayne doing? Promoting a movie. I’m not a huge fan of this match at all but it’s kind of hard to build something when half of it is missing. The only glimpse we saw of the Rock was the preview video for his match with Cena. He always says how important wrestling and the fans are to him but he can’t even show up to promote the biggest event of the year. To me if you are champion, you are there every single show giving it your all. Sound familiar? That’s because Punk did it.

It’s less than three weeks until the biggest sports entertainment event of the year and the man who holds the most prestigious prize in wrestling isn’t even there. This is one of the problems with the build for Wrestlemania XXIX, and a problem with the latest episode of Monday Night Raw.

There were so many matches on the show and none of them really seemed to make sense with such a big show coming up. They were very good in terms of entertainment but they should have been building programs and working to make sure that the crowd was engaged in what was going on. With changes in management and problems within creative itself, it is fully understandable why things may seem rapid and not as fluid as usual. I think those superstars who are competing at Wrestlemania should have been facing their opponents instead of other people on Raw.

Ryback faced David Otunga, that match set up his Wrestlemania match with Mark Henry. To me, that should have been set up almost immediately before or after the Elimination Chamber. I think that they will put on a hell of a match but I don’t want it to be just a strongman competition for fifteen minutes. Henry is incredibly athletic and deserves his time to shine on the grandest stage in wrestling. They did this a second time when they had Alberto Del Rio face Cody Rhodes, it’s not that it wasn’t a good match but they should have worked the story with Swagger and Colter more instead of just having them appear at the end and attack Ricardo. With the recent legal troubles that Swagger has had, he will probably be wished well on his future endeavors. In saying that, Cody Rhodes would be a good choice to go against Del Rio in the future. Both were very entertaining on Raw and I truly enjoyed their match.

Fandango also almost had a wrestling match this week. ALMOST. I don’t get what the point of his character is, so I won’t waste any more space in this post on him.

The Triple H and Brock Lesnar story also continued on Monday with a contract signing. Contract signings, like weddings, never go well in th world of wrestling. Heyman did most of the talking for Lesnar, who only made an appearance at the end when his manager got the holy hell beat out of him by Hunter. I think the match will be okay but it will be nothing compared to his Hell in a Cell battle with the Undertaker. If I had to pick a match for him to retire on, it would have been that one. That match was a symphony in the ring. I like the no holds barred stipulation but Lesnar shouldn’t be able to treat it like it is a UFC fight. It is a wrestling match, nevermind the stipulation. Lesnar can`t wrestle, he can roll around with people in an octagon but he can’t actually wrestle. Logically speaking, this is the only stipulation that could work even remotely in his favor.

Hot topic of the broadcast was the, in my opinion, incredible promo work of Punk. The Undertaker and CM Punk are doing the most brilliant job of building their match, there isn’t enough good things that I can say about it. Allegedly, many saw this as disrespectful but I don’t think it was. I also don’t think that it would have happened if the Undertaker said no. There is no disrespect or animosity between them. Punk and Taker are just two guys dedicated to doing their best for the fans, no matter what the reaction. Everyone just needs to relax.

There is no other match I am looking forward to more than Punk versus Undertaker. That is the main event of Wrestlemania this year, whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend.

The wrestling world finally got to see what the Undertaker thought of the passing of his long time manager, Paul Bearer.

It was the perfect tribute to someone who was such an important part of his career and helped to shape him as a personality and a competitor. When I heard the news of Paul’s passing, my mind went immediately to Taker. Wha is he thinking? How is he dealing with this? Will it stop him from competing at Wrestlemania? There were so many questions that every fan had to be wondering.

I thought the tribute was done fantastically well. To have Vince McMahon personally narrate the tribute video just goes to show how special William Moody was and how much he meant to everyone in the company. I thought it was a nice touch that they showed moments from his time as Percy Pringle III, a character that very few wrestling fans (including myself) knew about. Seeing the Undertaker down on one knee in front of the urn made me a little teary eyed. It signified the end of something special for me as a wrestling fan, it was one more person from my childhood that wasn’t there anymore. Out of all the manager/superstar relationships, the strongest one I remember is Undertaker and Bearer. He had such an impact on not only the Undertaker, but wrestling as a whole. As McMahon said, he was the most unique manager that the business had ever seen.

What I also liked was that Punk interrupted and I know that pissed off a lot of people on Twitter. I thought that it was magic. I also thought that Bill would have one hundred percent approved of what was going on. To me, he was always for whatever made the business better and his love for wrestling exacerbated that. Punk taking the urn at the end of Raw was also a fantastic piece to build on their coming match at Wrestlemania XXIX.

As I have said before, the wrestling world is a little less bright.

Rest in peace Mr. Bearer. Ooooooh yeeeeeessssss……

Rest In Peace Paul.

The wrestling world is a little less bright today as it learns of the passing of Paul Bearer (William Moody to those who knew him best). The Undertaker will be fighting a little harder at Wrestlemania XXIX for you and the crowd will be cheering a little louder.

Thank you so much for the memories, below is one of my favorites.